Post Title:  Adapting Mobility to Mothering Kittens.

“Don’t get a cat. You would be better off getting a guide dog,” remarked my close friend, Bethany.

I picked up my chopsticks and took the last bite of my sweet and sour chicken. “Hmmm. I do want a guide dog, but I can’t leave home for the training. It takes about a month.”

“You’ve checked into it?” She finished her diet coke and caught the waitress’s eye. Bethany motioned for the bill.

A young Chinese girl scurried to the table and set it down along with two fortune cookies and my extra eggroll. She smiled at both of us.

“Yes. The problem is this three-month-old kitten lives in a warehouse. She needs a home now.”

“Kitten? They’re expensive. And dangerous for someone with low vision.”

The conversation, a familiar one since my beloved Midnight had passed away at nineteen a few months earlier, ceased as we cracked open our cookies and read our fortunes. I poured a final cup of hot tea into the small teacup. What I didn’t tell my well-intentioned friend is that I had agreed to take the kitten. The house was much too quiet without a pet.

I picked up my cane. We stepped out of the cool air conditioned restaurant into the hot July heat.

I picked up the kitten the following Sunday.  Because of her four white paws, I called her Sophie Socks. A tiger-striped beauty with a white chest, she kept me company while I wrote. We did not experience any of the mobility issues people had warned me about.  On occasion, she might become a brief sandwich as we both had a penchant for the same office chair. I soon learned to look down before I sat.

She loved to lie on my keyboard and jump onto the printer to look out the window. After several mishaps, she leaped over the keyboard to avoid my grasp. When I heard my fax ringing, that was my cue to rescue my printer.

Sophie Socks and I happily adapted to each other.

One day I showed my sister-in-law a Facebook post about two kittens that needed homes. She fostered kittens, mostly those that showed up in her yard in the country though.

She wasn’t interested. Instead she planted a seed. “You know, Amy, if Sophie Socks had a companion, she would have a friend to play with while you are out.”

“Should I check into homing one?” My heart raced with the idea. “They’re eight weeks old.”

“I think you should.”

The problem was the kid whose mom made him write the post had two, a girl and a boy. Both, long-haired and distinctive, melted my heart. Much to the twelve-year-old boy’s dismay, when the mom slyly suggested I take them both, I did.

I hadn’t expected to do that.

My sister-in-law agreed to foster the little ones until I could schedule a wellness check with the vet.

The vet didn’t have an appointment for another six weeks, but she generously took them on. My brother glowered. “That’s all we need. Two more kittens to the nine we already have.”

But Julie did what she did best—mothered. She kept them separate from her cats, bathed them to rid them of their fleas.

Meanwhile, my older brother, Bethany and a host of others tried their best to discourage me from taking them.

“Let her find homes for them,” Bethany coaxed. “Why does it have to be you? Three kittens, especially little ones…” her voice trailed away. “Amy, you can’t hear them. You’re going to end up falling down the stairs or,” she changed tacks, “hurting them.”

“Three cats will be expensive,” Kathy said.

“You’ll never get any writing done if you take them on,” warned Julio, who despaired at my slowness in getting my books out.

Their voices convinced me I had forged an ill-fated plan to find a companion for Sophie Socks. Julie agreed to find them homes.

But the new owner said their cat rejected our boy, a beautiful white and orange tabby. The next day they returned him, and Julie asked again if I wanted to take him before she looked to re-home him.

I agreed at once to take him on.

“Amy!” my friends and colleagues chided me. “Don’t do it.”

Too late. Within two to three days, Rusty, as I called him, and Sophie Socks hit it off.

I faced a lot more running around and more computer / printer mischief. Rusty channeled his super-active tendencies especially into food. The two raced around like nobodies’ business.

Then came the day when the owners returned the girl. They planned to move into another house that didn’t take animals. As it was, they had to find re-home their first cat.

“Amy….” Julie ventured, “Would you be game to take on Rusty’s sibling?”

I hesitated. My older brother had complained just that morning at how Sophie Socks and Rusty kept escaping into the rest of the house. “The agreement was for you to keep them in your apartment,” he grumbled. “Sophie bit me. I hate cats.”

Sophie had never bitten anyone, so perhaps he took her playing personally. Both kittens were well-socialized. “They don’t understand.  Kittens are simply curious creatures. Don’t get all upset about it.” I knew my mother would have, and Mike liked his space.

When I approached him about the third kitten, he surprised me. “It’s up to you.”

“Really? You don’t mind? Not even if they escape into your part of the house?” I felt like dancing!

Shiloh with coal lined eyes for adapting mobility post

Shiloh seemed to have kohl-lined eyes

So, Shiloh joined our little family.

She looked Egyptian with wide eyes that looked like they outlined in coal. She had a dainty way about her. She also had four white paws but one had tiger stripes on it.

I fell in love with her. She returned my affection in abundance. Both siblings purred so loudly, it sounded like a train surrounding me.

While Rusty continued to wildly explore, Shiloh took to my lap day and night. All three cats settled in.

I didn’t tell Bethany about my beautiful Shiloh. The right moment never came up. Her arguments for safe mobility had trumped every conversation. Her constant refrain was “Learn to say no.”

But I loved them – all of them.

One day, I noticed the kittens sleeping on the carpeted stairs. I caught myself in the nick of time. While Rusty purred even in repose. I had no trouble hearing him. But Shiloh reminded me of an electric car, silent and unnoticeable. “I’ll just have to be more conscious and look down, especially on the stairs.” I would do that. For sure.

Kittens on carpeted stairs for adapting mobility post

Kittens on carpeted stairs

But the time came when the buzzer on the dryer went off. I ran to check my laundry, forgetting about the possibility of any happily snoozing kittens lounging on the carpeted steps. On the second step, my toes chanced upon a furry bundle.

No jingle jangle of collar bells would have helped. The kitten (I suspected from the fluffy touch it was Shiloh) had been curled up in a contented ball.

Bump. Bump. As if in slow motion I counted seven bumps.

My arm felt like it was torn from the socket. But it wasn’t. In fact, I landed upright. My “ride” down the stairs felt as if I were tobogganing down the bumpy path below our house where the neighborhood kids rode their sleds.

I marveled at how I could stay upright. I rotated my left arm. It felt weak but otherwise all right. I felt my side for breaks. Nope. Just bruising. The usual. “Thank you, God!”

The kitten, it seemed had sprinted at the first touch of my toes, and I suspect, the loud bump as I began to fall.

I sighed, rubbing my left hip and leg. “Par for the course,” I whispered. “Well, I could have fallen all nine steps, and it was only six,” I said loudly.

Bethany’s words came back. “Someone is going to get hurt, either you or the kittens.” The buzzer went off again.  The sound must have startled the kittens because all three came bounding out from the laundry room.  

They settled around me and leaned in as if checking to see if I was okay. Rusty licked my hand. Sophie Socks prodded me with a paw.  Shiloh touched my nose with hers. I picked her up and felt her slender frame.

Thank goodness, she wasn’t hurt.

I sighed. We are going to adapt to each other. I don’t think they’ll be sleeping on the steps anymore. And I won’t be running down them without a care. We have faced this mobility issue together. I looked at my sweet little family – two girls and a boy – and thanked God for them.

I was a low vision, blind mama of three kittens, the youngest five months old. Falls are a part of life. I kind of giggled as I recalled my bumpity-bump upright fall. Our life together would be absolutely fine. This is probably the worst that will happen, and we are all un-injured.

Surrounded by such trust, a fierce love enveloped me. I chose these babies, and they have brought so much joy to me. Other blind women have mothered actual children. They took precautions and their children turned out fine. They had opposition as well. Yes, it could be challenging, and expensive. But wasn’t it all worth it?

One day we will add a guide dog to the mix, but for now, I looked upon my sweet brood with confidence. We would adjust to each other.

The kittens have avoided sleeping on the stairs since that evening. They continue to surround me with laughter and their sweet company. They look to me, as any child does, for food, security and care. We have boundaries, and guidelines. I give them time-outs in my room, and found they take short naps. I write during those times. I also put them in my bedroom when I cook. Everyone stays safe.

The challenges certainly exist, but, more importantly, so does the love.

Every purr reminds me of my conscious decision to mother them.

You have just read “Adapting Mobility to Mothering Kittens” by Amy L. Bovaird. © November 26, 2019. All rights reserved.

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5 Stars “…I’m not vision impaired. I don’t read non-fiction for enjoyment. I am not what some might consider the target market for this book, but I can tell you that I would recommend it to my own teenagers, my husband, my teenage students, and anyone else I know as a book of bravery, encouragement, motivation, testimony, and just as a pleasure read. Don’t pass it by: You will be blessed.”–An Amazon Reader

–An Amazon Reader

5 Stars   “Living in the Power instead of the fear!”

Mobility Matters elegantly shares Amy Bovaird’s emotions and experience which anyone going through vision loss can identify with. The transformation as she overcomes her fear and the enemies voices that her loss of vision will now define who she is as a person and dictate the rest of her life, will inspire hope to each reader. Amy’s journey stepping out in faith and how the Lord’s Word gave her the strength to keep going, is a must read.

This book is not only for those going through the hallway of vision loss, but for each family member or any one who loves someone losing their vision would also benefit by reading.

Mobility Matters Stepping out in Faith has left me thinking I will now call canes power sticks!!!

Michael Benson, Founder
Visual Experience Foundation

Michael Benson, Founder, Visual Experience Foundation

4 Stars  “…As a mobility specialist myself, I found this book of great interest to me for its subject matter. I was quite amazed that Amy could get around on her own with her genetic condition, particularly at night, since individuals with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) tend to lose their night vision and are using a cane at night much sooner than Amy was using any assistive device (even a bright light). Amy maintained her positive attitude, her faith and her sense of humour. If only we all could do that in times of crisis!” –Kathryn Svendsen, Mobility Specialist, Canada

–Kathryn Svendsen

5 Stars  “Couldn’t stop reading until I finished. Very inspirational. Will definitely be looking for more by this author!” –Sharon Hannah

–Sharon Hannah

5 stars “…This book really inspired me. Amy’s outlook on life is what I would like to model in my own. Yes, going blind SUCKS but she took it to another level. She made it into an adventure and I needed to be reminded of that again. Her positive outlook on this all has really encouraged me in my current situation now. Taking the step of faith to move on forward and embrace life for what it is. I highly recommend purchasing this book! Be inspired, take a journey behind the life of someone with Usher, smile, laugh, and enjoy! –Andi Nicole

–Andi Nicole

5 Stars “As a person who lives with chronic illness, I sometimes get bogged down with books on illness that feel really heavy. This one does not. Author Amy Bovaird, who is losing her sight, writes so well about her personal experiences, I feel like I’m walking alongside her as I read. I kept coming back to the story to see what happened–was she going to let fear stop her? Would she overcome?
The lessons Amy learns through her experiences apply to any of us who fear aging, illness, new symptoms, or really anyone who needs some inspiration, and that reminder that much can be accomplished if you step out and forward–even when you cannot see beyond that first step. I definitely enjoyed this book. –Kimberly Rae, Bestselling Author of the Stolen Series

–Kimberly Rae, Your Content Goes Here

Blog post review by Gillian Davis, RP Tunnel of Sight
One of the best books I have ever read about mobility and white cane use is called Mobility Matters: Stepping out in Faith by Amy Bovard. It is funny, poignant and packs a lot of tips and useful information. You can find it by following the link below to Amy’s web page and listen to a chapter before you buy, it is wonderful.

Gillian Davis, RP Tunnel of Sight

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